When I watch movies, I have a notebook sitting in front of me. I only mention this because I’d like to start off with what I had written down as I watched the first few minutes of The Bat People. “A seventies creature feature where a man turns into a bat and kills people. Yeah, I could be down for that. The fact that it starts off with the American International Pictures logo makes me even more excited about what I’m about to watch. What could go wrong?”
Enough with my notes. The Bat People follows a doctor named John and his wife Cathy as they are doing medical stuff and taking a second honeymoon. John keeps hearing these strange sounds and when he and Cathy go on a cave tour he is attacked by a bat. This causes seizures and other odd symptoms. Everyone thinks he might have rabies, so they start him on the shots. That doesn’t help him though. He keeps turning into a monster and killing people… is there a shot for that?
So, all this killing gets the attention of Sgt. Ward, a local cop played by Michael Pataki. He thinks that Dr. John is up to some shenanigans and tries to keep track of him. Eventually he figures out that something is terribly wrong and with that knowledge decides to try and have sex with Cathy. That isn’t a typo or a mistyped sentence. Ward makes his move on Cathy after they figure out John is sick and missing after having stolen an ambulance and lead him on a highspeed chase. What the crap movie!
Some more stuff happens and eventually Ward figures out John is in the caves. Probably because he makes a tape telling them where he is and that he has started a new life as “something else”. That doesn’t prevent him from coming back and spending “marital” time with Cathy. Oops I guess she is a Bat Person now too… So, I guess John passed this affliction onto Cathy because she hears the weird noises like John did. But wait he heard them before he was attacked. How does that work? You know what screw this movie. I quit!
|BAT HAND! Yeah not really that exciting...|
There isn’t anything about The Bat People that I liked. The makeup effects work is okay I guess but isn’t exciting. In spite of the name we only ever see one Bat Person and most of the time it is just John’s hand. I’m not kidding we only get to see one hand for the majority of the movie. Could they not afford a rubber glove for his other hand? The kills are bloodless and tame even for the early seventies.
The plot meanders and makes no sense. It gets repetitive with John in the cave, then not, then in. You would have to be an idiot to not know where he is because they show you that every wreck and stolen car ends up near there. Sgt. Ward is the worst cop ever. Not only does he try to get with Cathy, but he can’t even figure out where John is! This really pisses me off since Michael Pataki is totally wasted in the role. That dude can chew some scenery and be entertaining as hell. Making him boring on screen took a lot of work.
I could keep going but it has to be pretty clear where I stand on the Bat People. There are a lot of cool drive-in flicks, many of them from American International, this isn’t one. I don’t recommend wasting any time on it.
© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer
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